In 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of presenting a message to Congress in person, the State of the Union as we know it today was created. The Constitution mandates that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
Wilson used his speech to Congress to rally support for his agenda. Since the president cannot directly introduce a bill to congress, the president often uses the State of the Union to push Congress to propose and pass legislation that will accomplish the president’s goals. Of course, these goals vary from president to president, as each has different ideologies, external circumstances and priorities.
On Feb. 28, President Donald Trump stunned the nation with his address to Congress, which was delivered with a professionalism that his other speeches have lacked thus far. Some have said that his speech was not a State of the Union, as presidents usually give a State of the Union address to reflect on the past year as well as highlight new agenda wishes. Trump has not been in office for a year yet, but has already given an address that reiterates the key issues and goals he has stood for since his campaign.
In his speech, President Trump acknowledged the end of black history month, calling it a reminder “of our nation’s path toward civil rights,” recent threats to Jewish communities around the nation and the recent shooting in Kansas City. President Trump called the movement that brought him to office “the renewal of the American spirit.”
President Trump also cited the promise of investment in the U.S. by major companies, including General Motors, Wal-Mart and Intel, among others, the increase in stock market value and leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership as triumphs of the new administration. Trump went on to confirm his commitment to fighting terrorism and promising to create jobs.
The President did not fail to take a stab at Obamacare during the speech, saying he is “calling on all Democrats and Republicans in the Congress to…save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.” He then went on to outline the elements the new healthcare plan should include, the importance of supporting veterans, conducting “robust and meaningful engagement with the world” and U.S. participation in NATO.
President Trump ended his address by reminding viewers that “we are one people, with one destiny” and asking for “all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit.” President Trump also urged “all members of Congress to join [him] in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country” and for all viewers to “believe, once more, in America.”